An NBA Fan; Fond memories, Great Performances, and Legends Passed
Maurice Lucas had more or less moved on from the Blazers by the time I became what I would call an "aware" fan.
I was too young when the Blazers won their only Championship to fully comprehend what was going on. I knew the names and felt the excitement, but was not yet a basketball fan.
As I grew older and got heavily involved in every aspect of basketball, I grew to know the players and appreciate what a special moment 76-77 had been.
Men like my Dad, who were at best casual fans, had been swept up in the momentum and would talk about the passing of Bill Walton, the intimidation of Maurice Lucas, the speed of Johnny Davis and so forth.
By the time the tremendous Portland teams of the late 80s and early 90s rolled around, I knew a great deal about the Blazers and, unlike my parents and their friends, was passionate about the game.
Few and far between were the games I got to attend, but in those few, I got to see some spectacular games. I was there the night Larry Bird, bad back and all, closing in on the end of his career, reminded us all why he was Larry legend, dropping 49 on the Blazers including a ridiculous, getting hammered trey to send it into overtime.
I remember buying a family four-pack, going to watch the Suns with my Dad, my best friend, and one of my brothers. Dad left to feed the parking meter while the rest of us saw Arvydas Sabonis, Tom Chambers and Rex Chapman hit stupendous shots to extend the game again and again.
There is something about seeing a spectacular performance or moment that makes sports worthwhile.
On the night the Blazers honored the memory of Maurice Lucas, early on it seemed we were in the presence of the makings of such a moment, of a memorable gem of a game.
LaMarcus Aldridge was firing early and often. He scored in the post. He scored on his patented mid-range jumper. He scored on alley-oops.
And then the Blazers forgot he was on the team, almost completely freezing him out for nearly three quarters.
And despite sometimes stifling, always harassing defense, Kevin Durant showed how he will leave millions of NBA fans with some great memories, including one moment when he scored from behind the basket against a triple team.
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